Reviewed by Heather C
Title: Scarred Hearts
Author: Bonnie Dee
Hero/Heroine: Shadow Robeson/Lettie Calloway
Genre: MF Historical Romance
Length: 167 Pages
Publisher: Bonnie Dee
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Two wounded souls find salvation in each another.
At the close of WWI, moonshine and bootlegging rule the night in the Kentucky hills, but two damaged souls manage to find light and love amidst the darkness. Nearly destroyed by a grenade blast, Shadow Robeson returns home from war only to be trapped by family expectations he has no energy to fight—until a secret romance with a loving woman sets him on a new course.
Bound by poverty and a ruined reputation, Lettie Calloway seems destined to spend her days serving at the local tavern. It takes a kind and gentle man entering her life to expand her dreams to the horizon.
Shadow plans to escape the backwoods with Lettie for a new start, but his violent family threatens to destroy the fragile growth of new love. As the couple struggles toward freedom, will they escape this dangerous country before their lives explode?
I’ve read quite a few historicals by Bonnie Dee that were co-authored with Summer Devon, but Scarred Hearts is my first by her alone…and also my first M/F romance from her.
It’s Kentucky 1919, when moonshine and bootlegging is rampant and Prohibition is just around the corner. Nineteen year old Lettie Calloway has lived a hard life. The daughter of a whore, Lettie was “taken advantage of” by a local store owner when she was just thirteen. Once the affair ended, Lettie continued to use her body to chase away the loneliness for several more years until she finally realized she could be her own woman. Now working as a waitress at the local tavern, Lettie is living a wholesome life, but the rumors of her past will never stop following her in such a small town.
The wealthy, bullying Robeson family runs the town. Shadow Robeson, the youngest of the brothers, returned from the war damaged and scarred. Duty to his family has kept him there running the Robeson still, but he is looking for any opportunity to escape his horrible family and start a new, honest life. When Lettie shows Shadow a little bit of compassion and friendship, Shadow is intent at getting to know her better. But Lettie’s past and Shadow’s family are determined to cause trouble…dangerous trouble.
Hmm, I’m a bit conflicted on how I feel about this book. I mean, I enjoyed it, and it tackles some fairly heavy topics, but it just didn’t elicit that “gut wrenching” emotion that I hoped it would have. I think it is because there was too much “telling” and not enough “showing” that I never really connected with either character. I mean, I liked both Lettie and Shadow, but I can’t say that I was too concerned about their happiness. I know, that sounds so horrible of me but it’s true.
The idea of the story was really solid: two characters with depressing pasts and not much hope for a happy future overcome all the odds to find a HEA together. But I think it lacked some intensity and felt a bit incomplete. Maybe if it would have had more scenes with Lettie and Shadow together…building their friendship and the romance… Plus, I was bothered by how easily Shadow’s muteness was resolved and felt that it would have had a bigger impact if it would have played a heavier role in the story. Instead, it was just too simple.
For me, the best aspect of this story was the strong sense of place. The author did a wonderful job creating a small Kentucky town with the dialects and lifestyles. Of course, I cannot confirm the accuracy, but it felt very plausible and realistic to me.
In the end, I enjoyed this story, but it’s one of those books that I don’t think will be very memorable.
Overall Impression: I Liked It
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*